The Moravians in Georgia HTML version

Chapter 2. Negotiations with the Trustees of Georgia
The Schwenkfelders.
Among those who came to share the hospitalities of Count Zinzendorf during the years
immediately preceding the renewal of the Unitas Fratrum, were a company of
Schwenkfelders. Their sojourn on his estate was comparatively brief, and their
association with the Moravian Church only temporary, but they are of interest because
their necessities led directly to the Moravian settlements in Georgia and Pennsylvania.
The Schwenkfelders took their name from Casper Schwenkfeld, a Silesian nobleman
contemporary with Luther, who had in the main embraced the Reformer's doctrines, but
formed some opinions of his own in regard to the Lord's Supper, and one or two other
points. His followers were persecuted in turn by Lutherans and Jesuits, and in 1725 a
number of them threw themselves on the mercy of Count Zinzendorf. He permitted them
to stay for a while at Herrnhut, where their views served to increase the confusion which
prevailed prior to the revival of 1727, about which time he moved them to Ober-
In 1732, Zinzendorf's personal enemies accused him, before the Saxon Court, of being a
dangerous man, and the Austrian Government complained that he was enticing its
subjects to remove to his estates. The Count asked for a judicial investigation, which was
granted, the Prefect of Goerlitz spending three days in a rigid examination of the affairs
of Herrnhut. The result was a most favorable report, showing the orthodoxy of the
settlers, and that instead of urging emigration from Bohemia and Moravia, Zinzendorf
had protested against it, receiving only those who were true exiles for conscience' sake.
In spite of this the Saxon Government, a few months later, forbade him to receive any
more refugees.
In April, 1733, a decree went forth that all Schwenkfelders were to leave the Kingdom of
Saxony. This, of course, affected those who were living at Ober-Berthelsdorf, and a
committee of four waited on Count Zinzendorf, and requested him to secure a new home
for them in the land of Georgia in North America. Probably Zinzendorf, whose attention
had been caught by the attractive advertisements of the Trustees, had unofficially
suggested the idea to them.
Lest his opening negotiations with the English Company should foment the trouble at
home, he sent his first communication to them anonymously, about the end of 1733.
"A nobleman, of the Protestant religion, connected with the most influential families of
Germany, has decided to live for a time in America, without, however, renouncing his
estates in Germany. But as circumstances render it inadvisable for him to take such a step
hastily, he wishes to send in advance a number of families of his dependents, composed
of honest, sturdy, industrious, skillful, economical people, well ordered in their domestic